Creeds and catechisms

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Creeds and Catechisms

Christians have formulated a number of statements of faith that seek to put their beliefs in a nutshell. In this sense, perhaps the earliest statement of Christian faith is that Jesus is Lord. The most widely used creed is probably the Nicene Creed.

The Creeds of the Church have traditionally been the most important summaries of the Christian faith. There are also those who don't use a traditional creed, but say "No Creed but Christ". Their goal is to be as non-denominational as possible.

The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, sometimes just called the Nicene Creed, is perhaps the most important of the various creeds. Another important creed is the Apostles' Creed. A later Creed, the Athanasian Creed, is also used in some Western churches.

Early creeds

Recent creeds, catechisms and articles of faith

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Pliny the Younger, Letters, 10:96-97. The Governor of Bithynia (now north-western Turkey) writing to the Emperor Trajan, about 111 AD. Translated as a footnote to The Church History of Eusebius III:33 at page 165 in NPNF201, that is, Schaff P and Wallace A (1890) Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2nd Series, Vol 1, at Christian Classics Ethereal Library. [Emphasis mine.]

Meanwhile, with those who have been brought before me as Christians I have pursued the following course. I have asked them if they were Christians, and if they have confessed, I have asked them a second and third time, threatening them with punishment; if they have persisted, I have commanded them to be led away to punishment.... Moreover, they affirmed that this was the sum of their guilt or error; that they had been accustomed to come together on a fixed day before daylight and to sing responsively a song unto Christ as God; and to bind themselves with an oath, not with a view to the commission of some crime, but, on the contrary, that they would not commit theft, nor robbery, nor adultery, that they would not break faith, nor refuse to restore a deposit when asked for it.... For the contagion of this superstition has permeated not only the cities, but also the villages and even the country districts. Yet it can apparently be arrested and corrected. At any rate, it is certainly a fact that the [pagan] temples, which were almost deserted, are now beginning to be frequented....

Irenaeus Against Heresies, Book 1: chapter 10: paragraph 1 (1:10:1). Page 330 in ANF1, that is, Roberts A, Donaldson J and Coxe AC (1885) Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol 1, at Christian Classics Ethereal Library. [c 185 AD.] [The Nicene Creed, effectively. Cf 3:4:2 p417. Cf 5:20:1 p548.]

The Church, though dispersed throughout the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith: [She believes] in ... God, the Father Almighty, ... and in ... Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Saviour, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father ... and that He should execute just judgment towards all....


  • Creeds of Christendom - a large collection of ancient Christian and modern Christian creeds and confessions, assembled by Rev. Michael H. Anderson

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